US President Donald Trump is “frustrated” by the continued witch-hunt of the Russia probe, the White House has said, as the controversy surrounding his campaign’s alleged relationship with the Russians continues. “It’s clear that the President is frustrated by the continued witch-hunt of the Russia investigation, and he’d love for this to come to a full conclusion so that everyone can focus fully on the thing that he was elected to do,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference. “That’s what he’d like to be focused on,” Sanders said. Yesterday media reports said that the FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into finances of his family businesses. Mueller has been tasked by the Department of Justice to investigate Russian meddling into US presidential elections last year and a possible connection between the Trump campaign and Russian. Trump has refuted those charges. “The President has been clear many times before that he has no financial dealings whatsoever with Russia. The point the President is making is that the investigation should stay within the confines of Russia meddling in the election and nothing beyond that,” Sanders said in response to a question. “I think it’s pretty clear how the process will turn out from our side is that this will be proven to be the witch-hunt that it is, and that nothing further will happen,” Sanders said in response to a question. Muller, media reports said yesterday, is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates. Trump has opposed such a line of investigation.
Meanwhile, the Department of Treasury announced a $2 million penalty against ExxonMobil for violations of Ukraine- related sanctions due to its business pursuits with Russia. Exxon, then , was headed by Rex Tillerson, who is now the Secretary of State. The State Department refused to answer questions on it.
“I welcome today’s decision by the Treasury Department to fine Exxon for violation of this sanction regime and I am disappointed that an American company would so clearly act in divergence from US national security interests,” Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said. “The Secretary continues to abide by his ethical commitments, including that recusal from Exxon-related activities. The action was taken by the Department of State – excuse me, the Department of the Treasury, and State was not involved in this,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters.
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According to the Department of Treasury, between May 14, 2014 and May 23, 2014, ExxonMobil violated Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations when the presidents of its US subsidiaries dealt in services of an individual whose property and interests in property were blocked, namely, by signing eight legal documents related to oil and gas projects in Russia with Igor Sechin, the President of Rosneft OAO, and an individual identified on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.